There's something about the West Coast and 2015 four-star guard Brandon Sampson that have gone hand in hand over the past few weeks.
Then, this weekend at the Pangos All-American Camp in Long Beach, Sampson showed California some love, treating onlookers to an all-around offensive display and finishing as the camp's second leading scorer (16.5 ppg).
"It was a great experience and a good camp in all," Sampson told TSD upon his return to Louisiana. "All those ranked players, it was good to play with them. I was just trying to go at them and get my ranking higher and get my name out there.
"I was trying to play above my expectations, but I also wasn't trying to be too selfish and all. That's bad. But I think I kinda played above my expectation level. I played pretty well."
That's been a theme of late for Sampson, who's put together some gaudy numbers on the Under Armour circuit this summer. The 6-foot-4, 175-pounder has averaged 21.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.1 steals for Louisiana Elite.
His rise this summer has coincided with new offers from the Pac-12 schools mentioned above, which join mainstays LSU, St. John's and Texas A&M in the chase to land Sampson. According to his prep and summer league coach, Jeff Jones, Mississippi State and Oklahoma State are also in the mix.
Sampson won't officially trim his list until the end of the summer, but he did share some of the latest on his recruitment with TSD.
On the most important criterion: "I want to go somewhere that develops you the most, where they really have pros and have gotten people there."
On potential of playing with Ben Simmons at LSU: "Yeah, it would be good to play with him. I mean he's a good player, and I think we'd do good things if I was to go there. But it really doesn't do that much to lure me."
On Cal coming on strong lately: "It's been Coach (Cuonzo) Martin and Coach Yanni (Hufnagel). Yanni's been recruiting me hard since he came from Vanderbilt. Yeah, him and Coach Martin have been calling me a lot and checking up on me, like when I was at Pangos, they checked in on me a lot."
On his relationship with Hufnagel: "He's been with me since like the beginning of my junior year. He's been recruiting me a lot. I talk to him almost every day and text him a lot. It's not even like a coach relationship. I look at it more as like a friend or something. It's a real good relationship between me and him."
- Sampson also reiterated that he plans to take all five of his official visits his senior season, with Cal and St. John's being the two definites at this stage.
Back to his prep scene, Sampson is hoping to get the Chargers back over the hump and to a state championship, where the program was two years ago when Sampson and current LSU forward Jarell Martin played together.
Here were his thoughts on taking a leadership role and whether he fits in best at the one or the two now that Dutchtown transfer Christion Thompson, a legitimate Division-1 prospect, is in the mix at Madison Prep.
On becoming more of a leader: "I tried to take that role last year with Jarell being gone. I knew I was going to have to get used to being a leader. Now coach looks up to me to be that leader every day in practice, so I try to go hard on the weights and be the first one to finish running."
On playing the point or off the ball: "I feel most comfortable at the two. I like playing shooting guard the most, but I can run the one if I have to. It should work well with Christion in this year. We can alternate and change. Both of us can run the one and the two, either way. I'm looking forward to playing with him."